Ipse inflammatus scelere et furore in forum venit; ardebant oculi, toto ex ore crudelitas eminebat. exspectabant omnes quo tandem progressurus aut quidnam acturus esset, cum repente hominem proripi atque in foro medio nudari ac deligari et virgas expediri iubet. clamabat ille miser se civem esse Romanum, municipem Consanum; meruisse cum L. Raecio, splendidissimo equite Romano, qui Panhormi negotiaretur, ex quo haec Verres scire posset. tum iste, se comperisse eum speculandi causa in Siciliam a ducibus fugitivorum esse missum; cuius rei neque index neque vestigium aliquod neque suspicio cuiquam esset ulla; deinde iubet undique hominem vehementissime verberari. caedebatur virgis in medio foro Messanae civis Romanus, iudices, cum interea nullus gemitus, nulla vox alia illius miseri inter dolorem crepitumque plagarum audiebatur nisi haec, “Civis Romanus sum.” hac se commemoratione civitatis omnia verbera depulsurum cruciatumque a corpore deiecturum arbitrabatur; is non modo hoc non perfecit, ut virgarum vim deprecaretur, sed cum imploraret saepius usurparetque nomen civitatis, crux,—crux, inquam,—infelici et aerumnoso, qui numquam istam pestem viderat, comparabatur.
(Cicero, In Verrem 2.5.161-162)

Then he* made for the market-place, on fire with mad and wicked rage, his eyes blazing, and cruelty showing clearly in every feature of his face. Everyone was wondering how far he would go and what he was meaning to do, when he suddenly ordered the man to be flung down, stripped naked and tied up in the open market-place, and rods to be got ready. The unhappy man cried out that he was a Roman citizen, a burgess of Consa; that he had served in the army under the distinguished Roman knight Lucius Raecius, who was in business at Panhormus and could assure Verres of the truth of his story. To this Verres replied that he had discovered that Gavius had een sent to Sicily as a spy by the leaders of the fugitive army, a charge which was brought by no informer, for which there was no evidence, and which nobody saw any reason to believe. He then ordered the man to be flogged severely all over his body. There in the open market-place of Messana a Roman citizen, gentlemen, was beaten with rods; and all the while, amid the crack of the falling blows, no groan was heard from his lips in his agony except “I am a Roman citizen.” By thus proclaiming his citizenship he had been hoping to avert all those blows and shield his body from torture; yet not only did he fail to secure escape from those cruel rods, but when he persisted in his entreaties and his appeal to his citizen rights, a cross was made ready—yes, a cross, for that hapless and broken sufferer, who had never seen such an accursed thing till then.

* Verres

(tr. Leonard Hugh Graham Greenwood)



Ἐννοίας μοί ποτε γενομένης περὶ τῶν ὄντων καὶ μετεωρισθείσης μοι τῆς διανοίας σφόδρα, κατασχεθεισῶν μου τῶν σωματικῶν αἰσθήσεων, καθάπερ οἱ ὕπνῳ βεβαρημένοι ἐκ κόρου τροφῆς ἢ ἐκ κόπου σώματος, ἔδοξά τινα ὑπερμεγέθη μέτρῳ ἀπεριορίστῳ τυγχάνοντα καλεῖν μου τὸ ὄνομα καὶ λέγοντά μοι, “τί βούλει ἀκοῦσαι καὶ θεάσασθαι, καὶ νοήσας μαθεῖν καὶ γνῶναι;” – φημὶ ἐγώ, “σὺ γὰρ τίς εἶ;” – “ἐγὼ μέν” φησίν “εἰμὶ ὁ Ποιμάνδρης, ὁ τῆς αὐθεντίας νοῦς· οἷδα ὃ βούλει, καὶ σύνειμί σοι πανταχοῦ.” – φημὶ ἐγώ, “μαθεῖν θέλω τὰ ὄντα καὶ νοῆσαι τὴν τούτων φύσιν καὶ γνῶναι τὸν θεόν· πῶς” ἔφην “ἀκοῦσαι βούλομαι.” – φησὶν ἐμοὶ πάλιν, “ἔχε νῷ σῷ ὅσα θέλεις μαθεῖν, κἀγώ σε διδάξω.” τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἠλλάγη τῇ ἰδέᾳ, καὶ εὐθέως πάντα μοι ἤνοικτο ῥοπῇ, καὶ ὁρῶ θέαν ἀόριστον, φῶς δὲ πάντα γεγενημένα, εὔδιόν τε καὶ ἱλαρόν, καὶ ἠράσθην ἰδών.
(Corpus Hermeticum 1.1-4)

Once, when thought came to me of the things that are and my thinking soared high and my bodily senses were restrained, like someone heavy with sleep from too much eating or toil of the body, an enormous being completely unbounded in size seemed to appear to me and call my name and say to me: “What do you want to hear and see; what do you want to learn and know from your understanding?”
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am Poimandres,” he said, “mind of sovereignty; I know what you want, and I am with you everywhere.”
I said, “I wish to learn about the things that are, to understand their nature and to know god. How much I want to hear!” I said.
Then he said to me: “Keep in mind all that you wish to learn, and I will teach you.”
Saying this, he changed his appearance, and in an instant everything was immediately opened to me. I saw an endless vision in which everything became light – clear and joyful – and in seeing the vision I came to love it.
(tr. Brian P. Copenhaver)



Stuppea suppositis tenduntur vincula lignis,
quae fido ascendit docta iuventa gradu.
quam superaërius protendit crura viator
vixque avibus facili tramite currit homo!
brachia distendens gressum per inane gubernat,
ne lapsa gracili planta rudente cadat.
Daedalus adstruitur terras mutasse volatu
et medium pinnis persecuisse diem.
praesenti exemplo firmatur fabula mendax:
ecce hominis cursus funis et aura ferunt.
(Anth. Lat. 101 S-B)

The ropes of tow, which the skilled youth ascends with sure step, are made taut by the poles supporting them. How incredibly high the walker is as he stretches forth his legs and, though human, rushes along a path scarcely easy for birds! Stretching his arms to the side he controls his route through the void, lest he should miss his footing and fall from the slender rope. It is maintained that Daedalus changed country by flight, and that he clove the noonday sky on wings. That story from fiction is proved true by the present example: look, a rope and the air bear a man on his journey! (tr. Nigel M. Kay)



In consulatu Vatinii, quem paucis diebus gessit, notabilis Ciceronis urbanitas circumferebatur. “Magnum ostentum” inquit “anno Vatinii factum est, quod illo consule nec bruma nec ver nec aestas nec autumnus fuit. [Cicero, Dicta 31]” querenti deinde Vatinio quod gravatus esset domum ad se infirmatum venire, respondit, “volui in consulatu tuo venire, sed nox me comprehendit. [Dicta 32]” ulcisci autem se Cicero videbatur, ut qui respondisse sibi Vatinium meminerat, cum umeris se rei publicae de exilio reportatum gloriaretur, “Unde ergo tibi varices?”
(Macrobius, Sat. 2.3.5)

In Vatinius’ consulship, which he held for only a few days, one of Cicero’s noteworthy mots was in circulation: “A great marvel,” he said, “came to pass in the year of Vatinius, when there was neither winter nor spring nor summer nor fall while he was consul.” When Vatinius complained that Cicero had found it a bother to pay him a sick-call at home, Cicero replied, “I wanted to come during your consulship, but nightfall overtook me.” Cicero appeared to be getting his own back, since he recalled that when he boasted how he had been borne back from exile on the shoulders of the commonwealth, Vatinius had said, “How did you get those varicose veins, then?” (tr. Robert A. Kaster)



Quid nunc, si est Romanitas omni salus, nec honestis tamen modis ad Graios estis? aut, ni ita est, unde gentium, in provinciis melius exercitis, quas natura agro potius eluctando commodavit, studia palaestrae, male senescentia et cassum laborantia et lutea unctio et pulverea volutatio, arida saginatio? unde apud aliquos Numidas, etiam equis caesariatos, iuxta cutem tonsor, et cultri vertex solus immunis? unde apud hirtos et hirsutos tam rapax a culo resina, tam furax a mento volsella? prodigium est, haec sine pallio fieri; illius est haec tota res Asiae. quid tibi, Libya et Europa, cum xysticis munditiis, quas vestire non nosti? revera enim quale est Graecatim depilari magis quam amiciri? habitum transferre ita demum culpae prope est, si non consuetudo, sed natura mutetur. sat refert inter honorem temporis et religionem; det consuetudo fidem tempori, natura deo.
(Tertullian, De Pallio 4.1.1-4.2.1)

But now, if Romanity is to the benefit of all, why are you nonetheless inclined to the Greeks, even in less honourable matters? Or if this is not the case, from where else in the world is it that in provinces that are better trained, adapted by nature rather for conquering the soil, there are exercises of the wrestling-school (thereby lasting into a bad old age and labouring in vain), and unction with mud, and wallowing in the dust, and living on a dry diet? From where else is it that with some Numidians, who even wear their hair long due to horses, the barber comes close to the skin and just the crown remains exempt from the knife? Whence is it that with hairy and hirsute men the resin is so rapacious at the arse, the tweezers are so ravenous at the chin? It is a marvel that all this happens without the pallium! To it belongs this whole habit of Asia. What do you, Libya and Europe, have to do with athletic elegances when you do not know how to clothe them? Really, what is it like to use the Greek way in depilation rather than in dress? The transfer of clothing only approaches a fault if it is not convention that is changed, but nature. There is an important difference between the honour due to time and to religion. Let convention faithfully follow time, nature God. (tr. Vincent Hunink)


Theodoros Rallis

Ὢ ποδός, ὢ κνήμης, ὢ τῶν (ἀπόλωλα δικαίως)
μηρῶν, ὢ γλουτῶν, ὢ κτενός, ὢ λαγόνων,
ὢ ὤμοιν, ὢ μαστῶν, ὢ τοῦ ῥαδινοῖο τραχήλου,
ὢ χειρῶν, ὢ τῶν (μαίνομαι) ὀμματίων,
ὢ κακοτεχνοτάτου κινήματος, ὢ περιάλλων
γλωττισμῶν, ὢ τῶν (θῦέ με) φωναρίων.
εἰ δ’ Ὀπικὴ καὶ Φλῶρα καὶ οὐκ ᾄδουσα τὰ Σαπφοῦς,
καὶ Περσεὺς Ἰνδῆς ἠράσατ’ Ἀνδρομέδης.
(Philodemus, Anth. Gr. 5.132)

Oh feet! Oh calves! Oh (I’m done for – and rightly so!) thighs! Oh buttocks! Oh vulva! Oh flanks! Oh shoulders! Oh breasts! Oh slender neck! Oh arms! Oh (I’m going mad!) eyes! Oh most lascivious movements! Oh outstanding tonguings! Oh (slay me!) her exlamations! If she is Oscan, named Flora, and does not sing Sappho’s songs – well, even Perseus fell in love with Indian Andromeda. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)



Sed quid dicitis vos ipsi qui Lupercalia defenditis, et agenda proponitis? vos eadem pretiatis, vos eorum cultum celebritatemque vilem vulgaremque redditis. si ostensio Lupercaliorum nobis adversa procuravit, vestra culpa est; qui quod vobis singulariter prodesse putatis, negligentissime, et non longe impari cultu et devotione ea ducitis celebranda, quam profanitatis vestrae celebravere maiores. apud illos enim nobiles ipsi currebant, et matronae nudato publice corpore vapulabant. vos ergo primi in Lupercalia commisistis: satius fuerat non agere quam ea cum iniuria celebrare; sed deduxistis venerandum vobis cultum, et salutiferum quem putatis, ad viles trivialesque personas, abiectos et infimos. si vere ergo profitemini hoc sacrum, ac potius exsecramentum, vobis esse salutare, ipsi celebrate more maiorum, ipsi cum amiculo nudi discurrite, ut rite vestrae salutis ludibria peragatis. si magna sunt, si divina, si salutifera, si in his vitae vestrae pendet integritas, cur vos pudet per vos ipsos talia celebrare? si pudet et dedecus est, itane salutiferum est et divinum profuturum, quod vos ipsi dedecus esse fateamini? nemo religionem profitetur, quam per se exsequi prorsus erubescit et refugit; ipsa verecundia vestra vos doceat crimen esse publicum, non salutem, et non Divinitatis cultum, de quo sapiens nullus erubescit, sed instrumenta pravitatum, quibus mens vestra contra semetipsam testimonium ferens, quod gerendum profitetur, erubescit implere.
(Gelasius I, Adversus Andromachum 16-17)

But what do you yourselves say, who defend the Lupercalia and declare what should be done? You yourselves deprecate them, you render their cult and its celebration cheap and vulgar. If the scandal of the Lupercalia has had adverse effects on us, it is your fault because what you think is particularly advantageous for you, you believe should be celebrated with an extreme heedlessness in a cult and worship not far inferior to that which the ancestors of your profanity celebrated. For with them the noble men themselves used to run about, and the matrons were whipped on their naked body in public. Therefore, you yourselves were the first to engage in the Lupercalia; it would have been better to have done nothing than to have impaired their celebration. But the cult that is venerable and salutary for you (you think), you have brought down to cheap and vulgar persons, the worthless, and the lowest. Therefore, if you truly confess that this sacred – or rather, execrable – rite is salutary for you, celebrate it yourselves in the manner of your ancestors, run around naked yourselves with a strap so that you carry out ritually the wanton acts of your salvation. If they are substantial, if they are divine, if they are salutary, if the integrity of your life depends on them, why are you ashamed to celebrate such rites by yourselves? If it is a matter of shame and disgrace, is what you yourselves confess is a disgrace so salutary and divine and profitable? Nobody professes a religion that he is ashamed of and completely avoids practising himself: let your very sheepishness teach you that it is a public crime, not salutary and not a worship of the divinity, about which no sane person is ashamed, but instruments of crooked acts about which your mind, in bearing witness against itself, is ashamed to fulfill what it declares should be done. (tr. Pauline Allen)